Jing Min Daxia
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I escaped the DPRK! Nah, not really... Our bags were searched (with a huge crowd of Chinese tourists checking out my dirty underwear), our electronic devices were checked, and we were put on a bus back to China. All in all it was a relatively easy process. The only complication was that Phil, who had visited Sinuiju with me, had a laptop with him and all computers have to be checked by a certain man - who had the day off so they had to go and find him so that ...
The air was much better today so I got a relatively early start and headed to the Temple of Heaven. The park was huge and all the buildings were definitely impressive, but I think I may have overdosed on variations on the theme of Imperial Palace. So I headed over to the Lama Temple thinking that would be a nice change of motif. Little did I know that the Lama Temple was originally an ... Imperial Palace! Wheee! But it was actually fantastic. ...
... other visitors may disagree!) We reached the top and were rewarded with the most spectacular views of both the forbidden city and beijing as a whole. Beneath the afternoon haze and scattered clouds we saw beijing stretch out flatly toward the horizon. After a quick trip trough BeiHai park and our first purchase at a local market, we made our way back through the chaotic traffic (which in retrospect, was not nearly as daunting as in Hanoi) to our hotel to prep ...
... they drove to the parking lot next to the exit and stopped. We were a little freaked out at this point because no one said anything to us about what was happening. Once we were parked, Ellen told us they were some government officials making sure she had the proper license to be a tour guide and that she wasn't trying to rip off tourists. She spoke to the men for a few minutes and they asked us how much we paid for the tour. They spoke to the driver of ...
... We had the last group activity, dinner and a show, that evening. The show was a little Beijing Chaoyang Acrobatics number. The acts were all impressive, my personal favourite was seeing 15 girls ride one bike whilst fanning themselves. The final group dinner was a bit subdued probably due to the wild crazy karaoke party the night before. We said our goodbyes to those that were leaving and made plans with some who were staying.
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